2014 UEK report from New York Conference
The Partnership between the NY Conference (UCCNY) and the Evangelische Kirche in Hessen und Nassau (EKHN) is now in its seventh year and is thriving. We send and receive people in both directions as time and finances permit, including sabbatical exchanges, interns, and joint mission projects.
EKHN Partnership: The Partnership between the NY Conference (UCCNY) and the Evangelische Kirche in Hessen und Nassau (EKHN) is now in its seventh year and is thriving. We send and receive people in both directions as time and finances permit, including sabbatical exchanges, interns, and joint mission projects.
Interns: Rosalind Gnatt of the UCCNY is finishing her year-long internship in Wiesbaden, where her ministry was enthusiastically received. (See her report, attached.) She will pursue ordination through the Metro Association, and is exploring the possibility of working with the EKHN to develop a new English-speaking congregation in the Frankfurt area. This would fill a need for a progressive Christian voice among English speakers there and would offer a new venue for expanding our partnership. We are pleased to welcome two new pastoral interns from Germany: Peter Guerth, serving at Saint Stevens-Bethlehem UCC in Buffalo, and Dr. Anneke Peereboom, serving at Plymouth UCC in Syracuse. They will be available at the Conference Annual Meeting at the end of May for conversation about their work here and in the EKHN. We struggled with visa issues again this year, as the requirements keep changing. We are looking into the possibility of listing the Conference as the employer and having one person in Syracuse do the paperwork every time, hoping that Homeland Security would then see these internships as normal and regular and approve them more quickly. We are also developing a timeline and a list of documents and other requirements to give to local churches when they are preparing to host an intern.
Youth Visit: In July 2014 we will receive a group of 9 youth and 1 pastor from the EKHN who will work on Hurricane Sandy cleanup efforts and attend the Mid-Atlantic Regional Youth Event.
Mideast Tour: A delegation from the UCCNY will travel with members of the EKHN to Israel/Palestine in September 2014. The delegation includes Rev. David Gaewski, Deanne Bellinger, Rev. Tony Green and Rev. Laurie Heidenreich. The purpose of the trip is to see how we might support peacemaking efforts in that region.
Near East School of Theology in Beirut: The EKHN has invited a UCCNY pastor to participate with three pastors from the EKHN in a 3-month sabbatical program at NEST in September 2014, tuition & fees to be paid by the EKHN. As of this writing we are still looking for someone to accept this gracious offer.
Martin Luther Study Tour: A group of eight from the UCCNY enjoyed 10 days in Germany in October, 2013, visiting the Wittenberg and Frankfurt areas. Many thanks to Sunny Panitz, Pastor of the Ringkirche in Wiesbaden, who coordinated the trip and to EKHN members who provided hospitality for the group.
Visitors from Berlin: A group of pastors from Berlin visited New York City last September to learn about urban ministry in the UCC. Thanks to excellent coordination by Melva Victorino, they were treated to hospitality in several local churches, rich conversations on various theological and practical topics and a polity class taught by David Gaewski. This was born out of our relationship with Peter Dennebaum, an EKHN pastor who had studied in Berlin and was ordained in the NY Conference. Conversations are in process regarding the possibility of a closer relationship between the Deanery of Berlin and the Metro Association.
- Detlev Knoche (EKHN Ecumenical Officer) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sunny Panitz (local church pastor in Wiesbaden) email@example.com
- Rainer Brunssen (layperson in Frankfurt area) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Martha Koenig Stone (Commission Chair, local church pastor in Rochester area) email@example.com
- David Gaewski (Conference Minister) DavidGaewski@uccny.org
- Sue Frost (Wider Church Ministries Coordinator, layperson in Syracuse) firstname.lastname@example.org